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Ralph E. McWhinnie* - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Arts - 1920 - Politicial Science
LLD - 1992
For nearly nine decades, "Mr. Mac" has been a UW fixture. In 1916, he took the train from his Douglas home to Laramie to begin his University studies, discarding a plan to study law at the University of Michigan. Economics dictated otherwise, as did the blandishments of then-UW President Clyde A. Duniway.
"When I was a high school senior, Duniway came to Douglas for a series of American History Lectures geared toward high school youngsters, promoting the University in the way he was best equipped to promote it. He interviewed each senior interested in college. I got 35 or 40 minutes in a vacant classroom with a sales pitch -- and informative discussion -- which more or less sold me on the University."
McWhinnie majored in classical languages. His teacher, Justus Soule, also became a respected friend. In 1919, McWhinnie helped out as a records office clerk, and, before he graduated, was hired as registrar and admissions director, the youngest person in the country to hold that office. He served as registrar until retiring as Registrar Emeritus in 1963.
Mr. Mac helped charter UW's Sigma Nu fraternity and presided over the Alumni Association for two years. In the 1960s, he edited a book of alumni memories, Those Good Years at Wyoming U. He has received the Alumni Association's Medallion Service Award (1980), the UW Distinguished Alumnus Award (1957), an an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1992. A 1980 Alumnews profile noted, "...his luminous career ranks with such UW pioneers as Frank S. Burrage, Justus Soule, June E. Downey, and John Corbett," all of whom he knew personally and remembers, as he does thousands of students, in photographic detail.
*In loving memory.